March 19, 2020
YOUR SOURCE FOR CAWG AND INDUSTRY NEWS. FOR CAWG MEMBERS ONLY.
TOP NEWS ITEMS
COVID-19 Resources and Information
We will send a COVID-19 update news alert tomorrow (Friday, March 20). It will include a link to a new resource page on the CAWG website that provides ongoing and updated COVID-19 information.

In the meantime, below are some updates:


>CAWG ALERT: Please read the  CAWG news alert on COVID-19  that was emailed to members on March 17.

>NEW CALIFORNIA COVID-19 WEBSITE: The state has launched a comprehensive, consumer-friendly website to provide updates and boost COVID-19 awareness. The one-stop website includes sections on education, employment/taxes, healthcare, public places, local information and what you can do to.

>FAQs FOR EMPLOYERS: CAWG member Fisher Phillips continues to update its legal alert -- “ Comprehensive and Updated FAQs For Employers On The COVID-19 Coronavirus .”

>TAX RELIEF: The IRS has established a coronavirus tax relief special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. The Department of Treasury has information available at  Coronavirus: Resources, Updates, and What You Should Know . The IRS and Treasury on March 18 issued guidance on deferring tax payments due to COVID-19.

>CALCHAMBER: Resources for employers .
Government Relations Report
WHAT DOES SHELTER-IN-PLACE MEAN FOR GROWERS?
Counties are quickly adopting health orders advising residents to stay at home ( example of an order ). The intent of these orders is to slow the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring the maximum number of people shelter-in-place in their residences to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue.
 
Many California counties have told residents to shelter-in-place in their residences and to restrict unnecessary activities. Counties are doing so by way of a formal order issued by the county board of supervisors or health officers, or by using a less formal advisory or directive. Some counties have provided that a failure to comply could present an imminent threat to public health and is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.
 
If your community has not already adopted a shelter-in-place policy, it may do so very soon. 
 
CAWG has been working with local authorities, regional organizations and industry partners to ensure that these orders do not stop ag production. So far, all county orders we know of allow vineyard work to continue. However, growers will need to implement social distancing and other measures to protect workers from exposure and spread of the virus.
 
If a worker wants to stay home, the question of compensation or benefits may come up. Both state and federal law apply. However, at the moment, the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency is providing a  chart with guidance on benefits  that may be available in a variety of situations. Remember, California requires three days of annual paid sick leave and workers do not need a doctor’s note to take that leave.
 
CAWG will send updates as things unfold and more information is available. Please consult your attorney or HR professional regarding any specific situation.


COVID-19 AND CALIFORNIA’S EVOLVING FISCAL OUTLOOK
The Legislative Analyst’s Office, a nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor, published “ COVID-19 and California’s Evolving Fiscal Outlook .” It offers some initial observations on the recent volatility in financial markets, sharp reduction in economic activity, and the state’s fiscal position at the outset of this episode.


-Michael Miiller / michael@cawg.org / 916-379-8995
COVID-19 Impacts H-2A Farmworker Visa Services in Mexico
The State Department this week announced that due to COVID-19, routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing in Mexico will be suspended effective March 18 and until further notice. Ag groups are addressing their concerns about a shortage of critical farm labor, and they are working closely with government officials and legislators on the issue. Farmers are encouraged to reach out to members of Congress to help them understand the situation and stress that farmworkers are vital and essential.

>Agriculture Workforce Coalition: On March 17, the group sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, stating “In order to ensure uninterrupted food, crop and commodity production, we urge you to recognize all H-2A, as well as any other nonimmigrant visa petition involving an agricultural worker, visa consular processing functions as ‘essential’ and direct the U.S. Consulates to treat all agricultural worker appointments as emergency visa services.”

>American Farm Bureau Federation: “U.S. farms and ranches could face a serious labor shortage at a critical time for planting and harvesting crops essential to the domestic food supply. U.S agriculture depends on more than a quarter-million H-2A workers every year, and Farm Bureau is calling on the administration to find a safe measure to ensure these skilled workers can come to our farms and ranches.”
Canada Ratifies USMCA
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal was approved by the Canadian Parliament on March 13. The deal had already been ratified by Mexico in June 2019 and by Congress in January 2020 (signed into law by President Trump on Jan. 29). In a statement from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer: “Now that the USMCA has been approved by all three countries, an historic new chapter for North American trade has begun…USMCA is the gold standard by which all future trade agreements will be judged, and citizens of all three countries will benefit for years to come.” The three countries will now work together to implement the agreement. As a reminder, one of the key provisions for wine is to avoid technical barriers to trade through non-discrimination and transparency regarding sale, distribution, labeling, and certification of wine and distilled spirits.
2019 Stats: Effective GWSS Efforts With Nursery Programs
The PD/GWSS Board posted the following update this week:

Nursery Regulatory Program
In 2019, there were 43,253 nursery stock shipments from GWSS-infested areas to non-infested areas of the state. Six viable GWSS egg masses were found in shipments at destinations in Alameda, Napa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Origin county inspectors stopped eight adult GWSS, three nymphs, and 140 egg masses from moving in nursery stock shipments.

Nursery Stock Approved Treatment Program (ATP)
In 2019, there were 10,786 ATP shipments consisting of more than 2.7 million plants. No regulatory actions were taken against any ATP nurseries. Receiving counties sleeved and monitored seven GWSS egg masses. All held plant material was released after no successful GWSS emergence.
California Vineyards Receive CDFA SWEEP Grants
Five vineyard projects are among the 125 projects that CDFA has selected to receive grants from the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). The funding for all 125 projects totals $9.7 million, which goes toward implementing irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California ag operations. Eligible system components may include soil moisture monitoring, drip systems, switching to low pressure irrigation systems, pump retrofits, variable frequency drives and installation of renewable energy to reduce on-farm water use and energy.

> LIST OF 125 RECIPIENTS (type vineyard in the find option)
EPA Announces New Method for Evaluating Pesticides' Effect on ESA
The U.S. EPA last week unveiled a revised method for biological evaluations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to ensure that pesticide registration review actions do not jeopardize endangered species. The new process, which will incorporate pesticide usage data into assessments, “will better protect and promote the recovery of endangered species while ensuring pesticide registration review decisions are conducted in a timely, transparent manner and are based on the best available science,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a press release . USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded the new method , stating “The required review of crop protection chemicals under the Endangered Species Act is an issue that has frustrated America’s farmers…for far too long.”
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
VINEYARDS & WINE

Ciatti California Market Report (plus video message from Glenn Proctor)
March issue

March issue

Local wineries are expanding delivery options, often with major discounts, to keep revenue flowing during coronavirus scare.
SF Chronicle, March 19

Tasting rooms are closed, but here’s how to keep sipping and swirling from home.
San Jose Mercury News, March 19

Wine Business, March 17

Generations of back-crossing with traditional European wine cultivars yields new PD-resistant selections with high wine quality.
Good Fruit Grower, March 17

WATER

Weather West blog, March 13

INDUSTRY EVENTS
Lodi Mealybug and Virus Outreach Meeting
This event is the result of intense studies by Lodi’s Mealybug Biocontrol and Grapevine Virus Research Focus Groups, which discuss strategies to solve mealybug and virus challenges. It is part of an outreach grant funded by the American Vineyard Foundation and the PD/GWSS Board.

WHEN: May 19 / 8:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
WHERE: Cabral Ag Center, 2101 E Earhart Ave, Stockton

CALENDAR
MAY
12 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #1, Buellton - CANCELLED
13 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #2, Paso Robles - CANCELLED
13 / CAWG Regional & Board of Directors dinner, Paso Robles - CANCELLED
14 / CAWG Board of Directors meeting - LOCATION AND FORMAT TBD

JUNE
17 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #3, Santa Rosa - TBD
17 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #4, Napa - TBD
23 / CAWG Foundation Golf Tournament , Woodbridge Golf & Country Club - TBD
24 / CAWG Annual Meeting Roadshow #5, Lodi - TBD

JULY
20 / CAWG Regional & Board of Directors dinner, Santa Rosa
21 / CAWG Board of Directors meeting, Santa Rosa